OPINION

Kashim Shettima: A True Nigerian and Bridge Builder

Access Bank PLC

 

By Adetunji Oredipe PhD

As the news filter to me in my remote location in Monrovia that Senator Kashim Shettima has been announced as the Vice-Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), my immediate reaction is that APC might have given Nigeria and Nigerians a unique opportunity to taste governance at a different level.

To start with, permit me to introduce my focal character in the person of Senator Kashim Shettima. He is a true Nigerian, with friends all over the country. His networking acumen is second to none. Setting the record straight. I am from Ijebu-Ode in Ogun state, while as you all know the Senator is from Nimeri Korongoso, Lamisula, Shehuri North, Maiduguri, Borno State. Our path crossed as classmates at the master’s class at the University of Ibadan many years ago.

Since then, Senator Kashim has continued to nurture and cherish that relationship. By the grace of God, I have a good job and cannot be classified as hanger-on by any classification, but I owe it a duty to myself and my conscience to come out to identify with a committed and loyal friend of all seasons at this moment in the history of our dear Nation.

True to the topic of my discussion, I will dwell more on Senator Kashim’s attribute as a Bridge Builder per excellence. But before doing that, let me see him from the lens of a brilliant politician and seasoned administrator. He is no doubt well-groomed to assume the position of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is highly qualified and his contribution to nation building has been referenced in so many fora and would not be my focus in this piece, which is solely aimed at showcasing his rare attributes as a true Nigerian and Bridge Builder.

Bridge builders are considerate people who do their very best to support others.
At this moment of decision making and when the country is battling with several issues, especially the ominous ethnic and tribal sentiments in decision making, we must factor these twin attributes in selection of the new breed of leaders that will take us to the next dispensation.

Many commentators in the affairs of the Nation have argued that tribalism is one of the most disruptive influences confronting the country. Tribalism, they argue, is the basis for hatred between peoples in the country today.

Furthermore, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the failed efforts to eliminate tribal identities may have contributed significantly to Nigeria’s catastrophic problems. If Nigeria is to take her rightful place in the scheme of development, tribalism must be destroyed. The last time I checked on the attributes of a bridge builder, which is a very important attribute deserving of a leader in Nigeria at this crucial time, I found Senator Kashim Shettima scoring very high in all areas.

Senator Shettima as a Bridge builder like to help to connect people. He has a way of recognizing what someone else needs and his minds start searching for ways to help them move ahead. He is a leader who knows precisely what the next step is for his followers. He is very painstaking in decision making and never pushy; he just wants you to achieve greatness. He will do it for free. His search and selection of his successor in Governor Babagana Umara Zulum is a case in point. Ultimately Senator Shettima is a fine leader.

Senator Shettima understand the power of a kind word. He is first at making a timely phone call or a note of praise. He once called me and repeated five times “Oredipe you are a good man”. It was indeed a morale booster for me coming from a second term sitting Governor. I, therefore, congratulate my dear friend as a bridge builder. Nigeria needs him because of the difference he can make in the lives of average Nigerian.

We all need that one person who understands and distracts you from your anxieties. A friend you can call anytime, who you know will be available to you and can talk you through your stresses. We all need a sounding board, somebody who will give sane advice and provide you with strength when needed. This is the real definition of our in-coming Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Kashim Shettima.

I would like to join other well-meaning friends and his many admirers all over Nigeria to congratulate him for crossing the first hurdle and to wish him success as he moves to the election proper. He should be ready to harvest the goodwill he has amassed over the many years of sustained relationship with Nigerians across ethnic and religious boundaries in the period leading to the election proper. I am already feeling proud of my good friend, and I know that he will make us proud with his track records. He has always dreamed of working for the people, and he has demonstrated it in his home state. Very soon, he will have the opportunity to do it for the entire country. Congratulations, Senator Kashim Shettima on your amazing success.

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